Examples Of Heroism In The Odyssey

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There are few fictional characters who so accurately depict the ancient archetype of a hero as Odysseus. In Homer’s The Odyssey, translated by Robert Fitzgerald, Odysseus is departing from the Trojan city of Troy in order to reach his home country of Ithaca. Throughout the course of his journey, Odysseus is faces multiple challenges testing his leadership, vigor, and wit in order to prove himself to be a true hero. He accomplishes this by bringing about multiple heroic feats and upholding the impuissant and helpless. The ancient archetype of heroism is commonly quantified by the amount of incredible and perilous feats overcome by one individual, so it should come as no surprise that Odysseus is able to overcome many of these daunting obstacles.…show more content…
Throughout the course of an exceptionally dangerous point in Odysseus’ return voyage he and his men find themselves caught in the territory of the Lotus Eaters, natives who have had their minds corrupted by a certain Lotus flower. Upon landing on the island, Odysseus sent three men to scout the area, all three of which became plagued by the flower. However, Odysseus “… drove [his men] to the ships, tied them down… [and] moved out again” (Homer 9.105-112). Odysseus cares about the safety of those three crew members, though they may have seemed insignificant due to the total size of his troupe. Rather than simply fleeing the island, he ventures out to ensure his men will return despite their stupefied state. Upon later arriving at his establishment disguised as an old beggar, Odysseus is met viciously by a particular beggar called Iros, who challenges him to a boxing match. Just as the fight is about to take place, Odysseus “…pondered if he should… drop [Iros] dead on the spot, or only… knock him down. Better that way, he thought—a gentle blow” (Homer 18.110-113). Iros, a man who had recently mocked Odysseus, is unwittingly at Odysseus’ disposal, doomed to whatever fate his foe willed upon him. However, Odysseus chooses to spare Iros’ life rather than “drop him dead on the spot”. Even when Odysseus eventually sets out to cleanse the suitors from his home, he never goes after Iros, truly sparing his life. It is these specific actions that added depth to Odysseus’ heroic character and demonstrated the true makeup of a
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